I’ve got a lot of time for top-down 2D action adventure games. There’s something about colourful pixel worlds and a solid combat system that just sits right with me, which is why many of my favourite games sit somewhere within the genre. Set in a violent post-apocalyptic cyberpunk world, Resolutiion is a fast-paced action adventure that invites you to explore this world, uncover its secrets, unlock new abilities and learn more about the strange and unusual setting.
The story of Resolutiion is pretty surreal, with sporadic exposition and the dialogue from characters often being incoherent rambling. You do encounter some hidden away characters who provide some much needed depth, but it still always feels like you are being kept at arm’s length from the narrative.
Playing like a Metroidvania, you’ll find new paths and entrances as you unlock your abilities. For example, a few hours into Resolutiion you pick up the ability to lay bombs, using them to blow parts of the scenery to smithereens and opening up a new set of areas to explore. With each new ability, you can reach previously inaccessible paths, providing players with plenty of opportunity and reason to backtrack.
Resolutiion’s combat is very reminiscent of 2016’s Hyper Light Drifter. Players must mix aggression with evasion in order to fell groups of enemies, stringing together melee attacks in combos and dashes to dodge. Be overly aggressive and you’ll soon find yourself swarmed by enemies, taking copious amounts of damage. Most combat encounters can be summed up as figuring out the enemy’s attack pattern and reacting in order to dish out damage. As you travel through the world you’ll pick up new abilities which can be used in combat. These often help turn the tide a little on large groups of enemies, although a skill meter limits how much you can use them.
Figuring out enemy attacks is especially important during Resolutiion’s excellent boss battles. Each boss requires you to figure out that pattern of attack and the right window to attack. It was rare for me to finish bosses on my first try, and I got the same feeling upon beating one that I do during Dark Souls’ boss fights. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how imaginative some of the bosses were, with no two encounters feeling alike.
One area that Resolutiion really excels in is it’s fantastic pixelated art style. This is a really stylised world, bursting with colour and detail across the ten distinct areas. The way in which the developers convey minor details about an area is fantastic and this brings a lot to the game’s style of world building. I would almost go as far to say that the art design provides more narrative exposition that the dialogue does. A dark synth-infused soundtrack backs up those visuals, adding to the dark aesthetic that runs through many of the world’s areas. Resolutiion is visually and audibly something quite special.
As stunning as Resolutiion’s world is, it really falls short on making it fun to traverse. The aforementioned Metroidvania world design quickly becomes frustrating as it isn’t always clear what area you need to go to next. I spent a lot of my time in Resolutiion wandering the world in the hope that I would just find the right way forward. Considering this game clocks in at twenty hours, there’s a lot of needless wandering that could have been streamlined to create a more condensed and enjoyable experience.
You can unlock shortcuts later on that reduce travel time, but they only work in one direction, so you can actually end up losing a lot of progress if you take what you think is a path to a new area only to find out it is a shortcut to somewhere you’ve already been. This happened to me a few times and it left me even more frustrated with the world layout. It’s these world design issues that hold Resolutiion back from being something truly exceptional.